Comparing the Conceptual Metaphor of “THE HEART IS A LOCATION” in Thai and Mandarin Chinese

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siqi yao


The objective of this research article is to study the conceptual metaphor “THE HEART IS SPACE / A LOCATION” in Thai and Mandarin Chinese in accordance to theories on cognitive linguistics. The result of this research illustrates that the conceptual metaphor “THE HEART IS SPACE” in Thai and Chinese reflects both similarities and differences in the conceptual systems of the users of the two languages with regard to “heart,” In both Thai and Chinese, the concept of “heart” is understood from a perspective of space. Construing thoughts and emotions contained in the word “heart” revealed that in both languages, it is viewed as a destination or spatial location. As space and spatial relationships interact between humans and the external world, these concepts become fundamental. Space is used conceptually to understand
the concept of “heart” or concepts relating to thoughts and feelings. Thus, an abstract concept relating to thoughts and feelings thereby may be understood in a more concrete form. The conceptual metaphor “THE HEART IS SPACE” demonstrates Thai and Chinese speakers’ similar cognition of “h eart” as metaphorized into space or spatial location, but the figurative meaning of “heart” as a metaphor for thoughts and feelings differs considerably between speakers of the two languages.


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